Balance is not the average between two extremes. It is the precarious midpoint between rising and falling. It is the last breath of an old man answered by the first cry of a baby. It is the electric current that leaps between positive and negative. It is perky Paul McCartney meeting jerky John Lennon.
There we are with Lennon and McCartney again. Do you know that story?
Neither of them was as good alone as they were together.
Lennon added depth to McCartney’s superficial shallowness. McCartney injected hope into John’s cries of despair. If you’ve seen the theatre masks of tragedy and comedy you’ve seen the souls of Lennon and McCartney.
In a 1980 interview, John said,
“Paul provided a lightness, an optimism, while I would always go for the sadness, the discords, the bluesy notes.”
Occasionally, they would weave together two half-finished songs to create a hit that neither of them could have crafted alone. In one instance, Paul contributed the energetic passage, “Woke up, fell out of bed, dragged a comb across my head …” to insert in the middle of John’s whining complaint, “I read the news today, oh boy …”
But then came the moment when perky Paul McCartney had to write a song of encouragement to a broken-hearted 5-year-old boy.
That boy was Julian Lennon, the son that John had abandoned to be with his lover, Yoko Ono.
Paul wrote the song as he was driving out to visit Julian and his mother, Cynthia, a month after John had moved out of the family home.
“I started with the idea ‘Hey Jules’ – which was Julian – ‘don’t make it bad, take a sad song and make it better.’ But then I changed the name to ‘Jude’ because I thought that sounded a bit better.”
When Paul played the song for John, he assured him that he would change the line, “the movement you need is on your shoulder,” because Paul felt it conjured the image of a parrot. Lennon replied, “You won’t, you know. That’s the best line in the song.” So the line stayed in.
“Hey Jude” spent nine weeks as the number one song in the United States, the longest of any Beatles song, ever, and the single sold eight million copies. In 2013, Billboard named it the 10th biggest song of all time.
When you make room for someone who is essentially your opposite, you make yourself exponentially stronger, more appealing, and more effective.
Your opposite can bring you gifts that no one else can give you.
Your opposite can see what is hiding in your blind spot and bring it blazing to your to attention.
Your opposite is uniquely qualified to be your partner to the stars, or your nemesis in the darkness.
Your relationship with them will determine which of these they will be.
Did you know you can choose to like someone, regardless of whether they have ‘earned’ it?
Which of the people in your life is your opposite?
Do they know you treasure them as an asset?
Or do you simply annoy each other?
Roy H. Williams
“When he began to write songs, Paul [McCartney] wasn’t thinking about rock and roll. He wanted to write for Sinatra.” – Joshua Wolf Shenk, The Atlantic, July-August 2014, ‘The Power of Two,’ p. 80
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